By Wendeen H. Eolis

Poker Player Newspaper

February 16, 2007

The key players continue to jockey for position in timing the announcements to various media, but the die has been cast; former New York Senator Alfonse D’Amato has been tapped to sit as the Chairman of the Poker Players Alliance. The PPA has grand plans, on behalf of an outraged poker community, to fight for a poker exemption to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. This legislation attempts to end online betting by American-based players. The PPA is putting big chips in the pot with expectations that Mr. D’Amato can turn the tide and re-secure the freedom for adults to play poker in pajamas- with a cyberspace seat in the comfort of their homes.

Two weeks ago, a confidential source who holds a powerful post in the gaming industry told me that it was a done deal. I did not let any grass grow under these feet. I called Michael Bolcerek, president of the San Francisco-based PPA and told him what I had heard. The phone went suddenly silent. He then demurred, saying there was no deal, and insisting I was way ahead of any story that might be appropriate.

As a result of my discussion with Mr. Bolcerek, I held up a report, not the least reason being that soon thereafter, I heard similarly from another source inside the Beltway. I was told, ” D’Amato’s election took place at a meeting he did not attend, and no contract has yet been signed.” In a telephone interview today, Mr. Bolcerek still assures me, “There is no signed contract.” But if I were a betting woman, I’d bet the ranch on this one. You can too. For more of the details that I have learned about Mr. D’Amato’s highly anticipated role and the political maneuvering that is in the works, stay tuned for my fuller report over the weekend.